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The Cliffe Sonnet

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Young prince Hamlet has just met his ghostly father. He relates to his son of jiggerypokery between his
mother queen Gertrude, and his uncle, the murderer of his father, and now king of Denmark.

The ghost also lays it on about how hot and painful things are in purgatory.

Young Hamlet is called by the ghost to follow him but his pals are afraid for his sanity.

"What if it tempt you toward the Floud my Lord?
Or to the dreadfull Sonnet of the Cliffe,
That beetles o're his base into the Sea,
And there assumes some other horrible forme,
Which might depriue your Soueraignty of Reason,
And draw you into madnesse thinke of it?"

A question often raised is what is "the dreadfull Sonnet of the Cliffe"? Is this another typo?

I believe the suffering of the ghost is a hint at a sexually contracted disease, probably syphallis.

It is for this very reason we find a hint given by the Dugdale drawing: an unhappy man clutching a pillow  against the lower regions of his anatomy: to indicate a severe dose of clap.


I mean, does he look like a "a sad distemperd guest " as Sonnet 153 says?



The only way in those times, to relieve the burning caused by such an unpleasant disease, was to hold a sponge or similar object, having first dipped it in cold water, against the offending area.

Now we come to that "Sonnet of the Cliffe"

   Horatio says:

What if it tempt you toward the Flood my Lord?
here he indicates water - in a large quantity.  He continues with:

"or to the dreadfull Sonnet of the Cliffe,"

and then, he brings the water back again:

"That beetles o're his base into the Sea,"

Next he hints that the ghost might change into something else, of something horrible which might cause madness:

"And there assumes some other horrible forme,
Which might depriue your Soueraignty of Reason,   <--- ***
And draw you into madnesse thinke of it?"

From experience, I assume the First Folio is coded from end to end. More than that, I believe even the very dimensions of the cover and pages are involved with the coding.

For that reason I suspect the Sonnet of the Cliffe to be a reference to an actual sonnet.

The particular sonnet is printed almost verbatum. That sonnet is 154,

according to the sum of the alphabet place-values,

                 THE CLIFFE SONNET = 154


*** Note: Although sonnet 154 is the result, it was probably intended to use both 153 and 154 because of their obvious similarities: 153 references Roman Cupid whereas 154 uses "the little love god" which seems to indicate the original Greek character Eros. (anagram of rose). In this sonnet "nymphs", a Greek name, are mentioned, but in 153 they are 'maids of Diane' - a Roman name.


Horatio says:

"Which might deprive your Soveraignty of Reason, "

Sonnet 153 says :

"And grew a seething bath which yet men prove,
Against strange malladies a soveraigne cure: "


Later in the play. the ghost says:

"Thus was I, sleeping, by a Brothers hand,"

compare with sonnet 154

"And so the Generall of hot  desire,                     
Was sleeping by a Virgin hand disarm'd. "


The sonnets ends with this line from 154:

"Loves fire heates water,water cooles not love."


             for those with a yen for gemetria:

word 2  F I R E  = 6 9 17 5:  multiply:  6 x 9 x 6 x 5 = 4590

 The 2nd root of 4590 is 67 and 74 100ths, in fractional form as it was written in those times.

This result is given to 4 digits only.

  I wonder what 67 and 74 might represent?





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